by Celeste Seah, 27 years old
I am a cradle Catholic, am an only child and came back to the faith in 2016.
Helpless. Fearful. Tired. Abandoned. Lost. Wounded. Unloved. Unworthy. These words describe my weary heart as I entered the School of Witness (SOW). A heart that became shy and timid because of an unpleasant memory in primary school. A heart that has been repeatedly shattered by my earthly father when his gambling addiction got the family into debt during my teenage years and recurred again last year. This was the tipping point which led to my parents’ divorce. I was disappointed by my dad’s irresponsibility and how he had lied to us to get what he wanted. My inability to provide a solution when I discovered that he had been borrowing money magnified my feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy. When I confided in my mum, her reply was “stop pitying yourself. If you’re hurt, can you imagine the hurt I’m going through”. I felt abandoned – by God and my parents. My self-confidence dropped to an all-time low.
I numbed myself to any feelings and built a great wall around my heart, keeping God and people out. I chose to remain quiet in many situations not because I have nothing to say, but because I believed that no one cares. I could not forgive my parents for the hurt they inflicted, especially my dad. This imperfect nature of my earthly father caused me to view my Heavenly Father through tainted lens, I questioned ‘Who are you, where were you God?’, ‘why weren’t my prayers answered?’, ‘Can you heal my wounds that have been repeatedly bruised?’, ‘Would you love someone as imperfect as me?’
During SOW, I realised that God the Father, who is the divine healer and master surgeon wanted to revive this tired and weary heart of mine. He invited me to surrender myself more to Him; but the most difficult yet crucial surrender for me, was to consecrate my family to Him. Writing a prayer of blessing for and surrendering my family to the Lord brought me much comfort, and helped me to gracefully accept and embrace my family.
My relationship with my Heavenly Father was also restored. I began to view God as a loving and compassionate Father, and not one who disappoints me repeatedly. He showed His faithfulness and endless pursuit of me through many tangible ways. When I began to fall back to my old ways of keeping quiet and fading into the background, He sends people to draw me out. One day in SOW, I received an image that I was in front of the cross, kneeling in front of the Father with torn and tattered clothes full of wounds and with my head hung down. Jesus came to lift my chin and fixed my eyes on Him, changed my torn and tattered clothes into a white new dress, and healed my wounds – family wounds and wounds from the lies I’ve been telling myself that I am not good enough, unworthy and unlovable. The same image was mentioned again during worship, which reassured me of God’s presence, and His desire to heal me. All these experiences felt like a warm hug from the Father who will do all that is required to restore and make me whole.
More testimonies on images of God and healing:
Having rediscovered the Father’s generous, restorative and unconditional love, my identity as a child of God was also restored. I now claim with conviction and certainty that I am God’s beloved and precious daughter. I may not be perfect in the eyes of the world, but I am good enough for my Father. Being back in His arms, I am filled with a sense of lightness, peace and joy that only He can give. I am comforted to know that He is right beside me, holding my hand especially when I am back at home and face with similar situations that would have triggered in the past. For example, now when my mum starts to grumble about the past and replay the negative scripts, I still keep quiet; but internally pray to God to cover me with His protection and to continue to love her for who she is as I have been loved by the Father despite my brokenness.
My life is now hopeful, meaningful, beautiful, treasured, loved and worthy. Our Heavenly Father is the well of living water we can draw strength from. My brothers and sisters, my invitation to you is to let Him enter your lives, let Him change your hearts, walk with you and be the co-author in your life, as you rediscover the Father’s gentle love for you. Amen.